Building 21 of the CSIR Campus was originally designed in the typical institutional modernist style of the 1960s. It is believed to be one of the buildings designed by the practices of Philip Nel and Partners; Burg, Lodge & Doherty and Johann de Ridder. The challenge for Orvall Corporate Designs was to meet the client’s aspirations for a contemporary upgrade but still celebrate the modernist heritage value of the building while introducing technologies into the building that qualify it as an innovation hub.In order to bring in more light and fresh air into the open plan offices, sections of the brick facade are opened up with glass to frame the lovely landscape. These framed openings vary in size and depth depending on the function of the interior. They are dispersed along the facades in a way that does not dominate the original 20th Century design. The revamped building is divided into two blocks by function. The first block holds all the open plan and offices, meeting rooms, the auditorium and kitchens and a breakaway space. One of our priorities was too design every space uniquely and not generically. Even though there’s a repetition of function throughout the building, all the 4 floors were designed in a unique way and they look different. The second block holds all the different laboratories. From mechanical to software experimentation rooms. The experimental nature of the building earns its title as an Innovation Hub. The unused rooftops are going to be integrated as gardens, an appropriate place to have lunch but also big enough to host events in the cool breeze of the evening. The exterior of the building was also redesigned, the new landscape has new lanes for pedestrians and bicycles and is well-lit for all the people who prefer to work at night.
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